Two Chinese Nationals Test COVID-19 Positive in Wa State

By Nan Lwin Hnin Pwint 21 December 2020

Yangon — Two Chinese nationals tested positive for COVID-19 last week in Mong Pawk in the autonomous Wa zone in Shan State, forcing around 300 residents to be isolated in quarantine centers.

The United Wa State Party (UWSP) vice-chairman Zhao Guoan said the patients would not be transported to China as there were medics in the town.

The UWSA unveiled a COVID-19 lab at its headquarters in Panghsang in early December after the Red Cross Department in Pu’er City, Yunnan Province, provided the UWSP with testing equipment using “Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction”.

Chinese medics have also provided training to Wa health staff in coronavirus diagnosis and treatment.

“We have now shut down the town, blocking travel with Weg Kao, Mongla and Panghsang,” said Zhao Guoan.

The UWSP closed its borders with Myanmar-government territory in March but the border with China remains open.

There were no COVID-19 infections reported in Wa State until November. A Chinese citizen arrived on Dec. 9 in Mong Pawk via Mong La, which borders Wa State and is held by the National Democratic Alliance Army (NDAA). She returned to China via Panghsang on Dec. 14 and tested positive for coronavirus in China.

The NDAA said the woman was in Mong La from Sept. 8 to Dec. 8 before traveling to Mong Pawk. The UWSP and NDAA have since been carrying out COVID-19 tests, resulting in last week’s positive tests in Mong Pawk.

The NDAA said it tested 49 people thought to have been in contact with the Chinese woman and they all tested negative. The armed group said it is working with China to pinpoint where the Chinese woman was infected.

Myanmar’s 2008 Constitution acknowledges the Wa areas in Shan State as self-administered, covering six townships split between two districts. The Wa administration has total control over the area’s governance.

Mong Pawk is between Panghsang and Mong La and was established in 2017 in cooperation with Chinese investors as an entertainment city with casinos, karaoke parlors and hotels. It also houses a United Wa State Army brigade.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko 

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